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INTRODUCTION TO EXODUS 12
This chapter begins with observing, that the month in which the above wonders were wrought in Egypt, and the following ordinance appointed to the Israelites, should hereafter be reckoned the first month in the year, Exodus 12:1 on the tenth day of which a lamb here described was to be taken and kept till the fourteenth, and then slain, and its blood sprinkled on the posts of the houses of the Israelites,
Exodus 12:3, the manner of dressing and eating it is shown,
Exodus 12:8 and the reason of the institution of this ordinance being given, Exodus 12:12, and an order to eat unleavened bread during seven days, in which the feast was to be kept, Exodus 12:15, directions are also given for the immediate observance of it, and particularly about the sprinkling of the blood of the lamb, and the use of it, Exodus 12:21, and this ordinance, which they were to instruct their children in, was to be kept by them in succeeding ages for ever, Exodus 12:24 about the middle of the night it was first observed, all the firstborn in Egypt were slain, which made the Egyptians urgent upon the Israelites to depart in haste, Exodus 12:28 and which they did with their unleavened dough, and with great riches they had borrowed of the Egyptians, Exodus 12:34, the number of the children of Israel at the time of their departure, the mixed multitude and cattle that went with them, their baking their unleavened cakes, the time of their sojourning in Egypt, and of their coming out of it that night, which made it a remarkable one, are all particularly taken notice of, Exodus 12:37, laws and rules are given concerning the persons that should partake of the passover, Exodus 12:43 and the chapter is concluded with observing, that it was kept according to the command of God, and that it was on the same day it was first instituted and kept that Israel were brought out of Egypt, Exodus 12:50.
And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,.... Before they and the children of Israel came out of it, before the slaying of the firstborn, yea, before Moses came from the presence of Pharaoh, and had given him notice of it; and it is very probable even before the three days darkness, seeing it seems necessary it should be four days before the passover, since on the tenth day the lamb was to be taken, and on the fourteenth slain, Exodus 12:3 and by what follows it looks as if it was at the beginning or first day of the month, and so the words may be rendered, "the Lord had spoke" y; and the following account is deferred to this place, that there might be no interruption of the history of the plagues, and that the passover, with all its rites and ceremonies, both at the first institution and observance of it, and in later times, might be laid together.
y ויאמר "alloquutus antem fuerat", Junius Tremellius, Piscator "dixerat autem"; so some in Drusius, and Ainsworth.
This month shall be unto you the beginning of months,.... Not only the first, as after expressed, but the chief and principal of them, now famous for their coming out of Egypt in it, and would be more so for the sufferings and death of the Messiah, and redemption by him from sin, Satan, and the world, law, hell, and death, for he suffered at the time of the passover. This month was called Abib, Exodus 13:4, which signifies an ear of corn, and at this time we find that the barley was in ear, Exodus 9:31 which clearly shows in what month the above things were transacted; afterwards it was called Nisan, which seems to be the Chaldean name for it, Nehemiah 2:1: it shall be the first month of the year to you; which before was the seventh; while the Israelites were in Egypt they observed the same beginning of the year and course of months as the Egyptians, as Josephus z intimates; and with the Egyptians, the month Thot was the first month, which answered to Tisri with the Jews, and both to our September, or a part of it, so that the beginning of the year was then in the autumnal equinox, at which season it is thought the world was created; but now to the Israelites it was changed unto the vernal equinox, for this month of Abib or Nisan answers to part of our March and part of April; though indeed both beginnings of the year were observed by them, the one on ecclesiastic, the other on civil accounts; or, as Josephus a expresses it, the month of Nisan was the beginning with respect to things divine, but in buying and selling, and such like things, the ancient order was observed; and so the Targum of Jonathan here paraphrases it,
"from hence ye shall begin to reckon the feasts, the times, and the revolutions.''
Indeed the Jews had four beginnings of the year according to their Misnah b; the first of Nisan (or March) was the beginning of the year for kings and for festivals; the first of Elul (or August) for the tithing of cattle; the first of Tisri (or September) for the sabbatical years, jubilees, and planting of trees and herbs; and the first of Shebet (or January) for the tithing the fruit of trees.
z Antiqu. l. 1. c. 3. sect. 3. a Antiqu. l. 1. c. 3. sect. 3. b Misn. Roshhashanah, c. 1. sect. 1.
Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel,.... That is, to the elders of the people, and heads of families; unless we can suppose that they had been gradually gathered, and were now gathered together in a body by the direction of Moses, by whom they were assured that their departure was at hand; and the rather it may be thought that so it was, since the following order concerned the whole and every individual:
saying, in the tenth [day] of this month; the month Abib or Nisan, which shows that this direction must be given before that day, and so very probably on the first of the month, as before observed:
they shall take to them every man a lamb; not every individual person, but every master of a family, or head of an house, as follows:
according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house; if large enough to eat up a whole lamb, otherwise they were to do as next directed: the Targum of Jonathan suggests, that this direction of taking a lamb to them on the tenth day of the month was only for this time, and not for following ages; and so the Jewish doctors c commonly understand it as being peculiar to the passover in Egypt, and not in later times; for they d say,
"what difference is there between the passover in Egypt, and the passover in later ages? the passover in Egypt was taken within the tenth day, and was obliged to sprinkling with a bunch of hyssop upon the lintel, and upon the two side posts, and was eaten with haste in one night, but the passover in later ages was kept all the seven days.''
The ground and reason of this special direction for taking up a lamb on the tenth day was, that they might have a lamb ready; and that through the multiplicity of business, and the hurry they would be in at their departure, they might not forget it, and neglect it; and that they might have time enough to examine whether it had all the prerequisites and qualifications that were necessary; and that while they had it in view, they might be led to meditate upon, and talk of, expect and firmly believe their deliverance; yea, that their faith might be directed to a far greater deliverance by the Messiah, which this was only typical of, Hebrews 11:28 but some of these reasons would hold good in later times, and it seems by some circumstances that this rule was attended to.
c Ben Gersom in loc. Maimon. Korban Pesach. c. 10. sect. 15. d Misn. Pesach. c. 9. sect. 5.
And if the household be too little for the lamb,.... That they cannot eat it up at once;
let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; which Josephus e says were never fewer than ten, and were often twenty, but no man might feast alone; with which agrees the Jewish canon f,
"they do not kill the passover lamb for a single person, nor even for a society consisting of one hundred, that cannot eat the quantity of an olive:''
every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb: that is, a man must reckon up how many he has in his own house to eat of the lamb, and what their appetites be, by which he will he able to judge whether he can dispense with a lamb himself, or whether he must take in some of his neighbours, and how many, so as to eat up the whole lamb, for, for such persons the lamb was to be slain. The rule is,
"if a man slays it for those that do not eat of it, or for those that are not counted, for the uncircumcised, and the unclean, it was wrong, and not allowed of g.''
The taking in his neighbours may respect the call of the Gentiles to partake of Christ with the Jews, see Ephesians 3:5.
e De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 9. sect. 3. f Misn. Pesach. c. 8. sect. 7. g lbid. c. 5. sect. 3.
Your lamb shall be without blemish,.... Without any spot or defect in it. Maimonides h reckons no less than fifty blemishes in a creature, anyone of which makes it unfit for sacrifice, see
Leviticus 21:21. This lamb was a type of Christ, who is therefore said to be our passover sacrificed for us, 1 Corinthians 5:7 comparable to a lamb for his innocence and harmlessness, for his meekness, humility, and patience, for usefulness both for food and raiment, as well as for being fit for sacrifice; and who is a lamb without spot and blemish, either of original sin, or actual transgression, holy in his nature, harmless in his life:
a male of the first year; anyone within that time, but not beyond it; denoting the strength and vigour of Christ, in the flower of his age, his short continuance among men, and his being tender and savoury food for the faith of his people:
ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats; it might be either a lamb, or a kid of the goats; for the most part, or generally, it was a lamb that was taken; so the Jewish canon runs i,
"he that says to his servant, go and slay for me the passover, if he slays a kid he may eat it; if he slays a lamb he may eat of it; if he slays a kid and a lamb, he may eat of the first.''
The goat being of an ill smell may denote Christ being made sin, and a sin offering for his people; and the taking of a lamb from these may signify the choice of Christ from among the people in the council and covenant of God; the preordination of him to be the lamb slain from the foundation of the world; the preservation of him from the infection of sin in his incarnation, and the separation of him from sinners in his conversation.
h Hilchot Biath Hamikdash, c. 7. sect. 1. i Misn. Pesach. c. 8. sect. 2.
And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month,.... In their houses; this may denote the preservation of Christ in his infancy, and to the appointed time of his sufferings and death; and it is remarkable, that on this very day, the tenth of Nisan, four days before the passover, and so as many days before his sufferings and death, he made his entry into Jerusalem, near to which he was to be offered up, John 12:1:
and the whole assembly of the congregation shall kill it in the evening; that is, of the fourteenth of Nisan; not between the two suns, as the Targum of Jonathan, between the sun setting and the sun rising; nor between the setting of the sun, and the entire disappearance of its rays of light reflecting in the air and clouds after it, as Aben Ezra; so it is said in the Talmud k, after the sun is set, all the time that the face of the east is red; others say as long as a man can walk half a mile after sun setting; and others, the twinkling of an eye; but "between the two evening's" l, as it may be rendered; which respects that space of time after the sun begins to decline, and the entire setting of it; when the sun begins to decline, as it does after noon, that is the first evening, and when it is set, that is the second; and the middle space between the one and the other is about the nineth hour of the day, according to the Jewish computation, and, with us, about three o'clock in the afternoon, about which time the passover used to be killed; for they say m,
"the daily sacrifice was slain at eight and a half, and offered at the nineth; but on the evening of the passover it was slain at seven and a half, and offered at eight and a half, whether on a common day, or on a sabbath; and if the evening of the passover happened to be on the evening of the sabbath, it was slain at six and a half, and offered up at seven and a half, and after that the passover;''
which was done, that there might be time before the last evening for the slaying of the passover lamb. Josephus n says, at the passover they slew the sacrifice from the nineth hour to the eleventh;
John 12:1- :, and it being at the nineth hour that our Lord was crucified, the agreement between him and the paschal lamb in this circumstance very manifestly appears, Matthew 27:46 though it may also in general denote Christ's appearing in the last days, in the end of the world, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself: the slaying of the paschal lamb is ascribed to the "whole assembly of the congregation", because it was to be slain by their order, and in their name, for their use, and they present; and thus the crucifixion of Christ, his sufferings and death, are attributed to the men of Israel, and all the house of Israel, Acts 2:22.
k T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 34. 2. l בין הערבים "inter duas vesperas", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Ainsworth. m Misn. Pesach. c. 5. sect. 1. n De Bello Jud. l. 6. c. 9. sect. 3.
And they shall take of the blood,.... Of the lamb, being received into a basin, Exodus 12:22:
and strike it on the two side posts; with a bunch of hyssop dipped into it:
and on the upper doorpost of the houses, wherein they shall eat it; but not on the posts of those houses, the inhabitants of which joined with their neighbours in eating it; though Levi Ben Gersom thinks they were sprinkled as the rest; but to what purpose, when there were no Israelites, and no firstborn in them? the two side posts were the posts of a folding door, on which the two folds were hung, and the upper doorpost is what is afterwards called the lintel, Exodus 12:23 and has its name in Hebrew from looking out; for, as Aben Ezra says, there was a window over the door, as is the custom throughout the whole country of the Ishmaelites or Arabians; and so Schindler says o, which perhaps he took from him, that the word signifies either a lintel, or a little window over the door, through which it might be seen who called or knocked at the door; and adds, in Egypt, as now in Arabia, there were windows over the doors of houses. The sprinkling the blood of the paschal lamb was typical of the sprinkling of the blood of Christ upon the hearts and consciences of his people, and of their peace, safety, and security by it from the wrath of God, and the vengeance of divine justice; of the further use of this rite, see
Exodus 12:22, Aben Ezra mentions it as the opinion of some, that the sprinkling of the blood on those places was to show that they slew the abomination of the Egyptians openly; but he himself gives a much better reason for this rite, namely, that it was to be a propitiation for everyone that ate in the house, and was a sign to the destroyer, that he might look upon it in like manner, as it is said Ezekiel 9:4, "set a mark, &c." this seems to be peculiar to the passover in Egypt, and was not used in later times.
o Lex. Pentaglott. col. 1938.
And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire,.... The night of the fourteenth of Nisan; and as the Jews reckoned their days from the evening preceding, this must be the beginning of the fifteenth day, which being observed, will serve to reconcile some passages relating to this ordinance. The lamb was to be roasted, not only because its flesh thereby would be more palatable and savoury, but because soonest dressed that way, their present circumstances requiring haste; but chiefly to denote the sufferings of Christ, the antitype of it, when he endured the wrath of God, poured out as fire upon him; and also to show, that he is to be fed upon by faith, which works by love, or to be received with hearts inflamed with love to him:
and unleavened bread; this also was to be eaten at the same time, and for seven days running, even to the twenty first day of the month,
Exodus 12:15, where see more concerning this: the reason of this also was, because they were then in haste, and could not stay to leaven the dough that was in their troughs; and was significative of the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth, with which the true passover lamb is to be eaten, in opposition to the leaven of error, hypocrisy, and malice, 1 Corinthians 5:7:
and with bitter herbs they shall eat it; the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "with wild lettuces", which are very bitter; and the worst sort of which, for bitterness, Pliny says p, is what they call "picris", which has its name from the bitterness of it, and is the same by which the Septuagint render the word here: the Targum of Jonathan is,
"with horehound and endive they shall eat it;''
and so the Targum on Song of Solomon 2:9. Wild endive; of which Pliny says q, there is a wild endive, which in Egypt they call cichory, and bids fair to be one of these herbs; according to the Misnah r and Maimonides s, there were five sorts of them, and anyone, or all of them, might be eaten; their names with both are these, Chazoreth, Ulshin, Thamcah, Charcabinah, and Maror; the four first of which may be the wild lettuce, endive, horehound, or perhaps "tansie"; and cichory the last. Maror has its name from bitterness, and is by the Misnic commentators t said to be a sort of the most bitter coriander; it seems to be the same with "picris": but whatever they were, for it is uncertain what they were, they were expressive of the bitter afflictions of the children of Israel in Egypt, with which their lives were made bitter; and of those bitter afflictions and persecutions in the world, which they that will live godly in Christ Jesus must expect to endure; as well as they may signify that as a crucified Christ must be looked upon, and lived upon by faith, so with mourning and humiliation for sin, and with true repentance for it as an evil and bitter thing, see
p Nat. Hist. l. 19. c. 8. & 21. 17. & 32. 22. q Ibid. r Misn. Pesach. c. 2. sect. 6. s Hilchot, Chametz Umetzah, c. 7. sect. 13. t Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Pesach. ut supra. (c. 2. sect. 6.)
Eat not of it raw,.... Not roasted enough; and so Jarchi says, that what is not sufficiently roasted, or is not thoroughly and down roasted, is in the Arabic language called נא u, the word here used; and so Maimonides w says it signifies flesh, on which the fire begins to operate, and is roasted a little, but not enough for eating. And indeed there seems to be no necessity of a prohibition of eating the flesh quite raw: some x derive the word from a root which signifies to break, and suppose that this rule forbids the breaking or cutting it in pieces; that as it was to be roasted whole, and not a bone of it to be broken, so it was to be brought to table whole, and the whole to be eaten; but then it could not be eaten without being cut to pieces. Abarbinel y takes the word in the usual signification of it, "now", as if the sense was, ye shall not eat of it now, not before the evening of the fourteenth day; but whereas Moses had told them,
Exodus 12:6, that the lamb was to be kept up until the fourteenth day, it was needless to tell them that they should not eat it now or immediately; the first sense is best, and this shows that Christ, the antitype of this lamb, is not to be eaten in a carnal but spiritual manner, of which our Lord treats in John 6:31, nor sodden at all with water; the Targum of Jonathan is,
"neither boiled in wine, nor in oil, nor in other liquor, nor boiled in water.''
This, with respect to the antitype, shows, that Christ is not to be received in a cold lukewarm manner, and with indifference; and that nothing is to be mixed, added, and joined unto him, but he alone is to be regarded in the business of our acceptance, justification, and salvation:
but roast with fire; for the reasons before given: the manner of roasting it, according to the Jewish canons z, was this, they bring a spit made of the wood of pomegranate, and thrust it into its mouth quite through it, and put the thighs and entrails within it; they do not roast the passover lamb on an iron spit, nor on an iron grate. Maimonides a is a little more particular and exact in his account; to the question, how do they roast it? he replies,
"they transfix it through the middle of the mouth to its posteriors, with a wooden spit, and they hang it in the midst of a furnace, and the fire below:''
so that it was not turned upon a spit, according to our manner of roasting, but was suspended on a hook, and roasted by the fire underneath, and so was a more exact figure of Christ suspended on the cross, and enduring the fire of divine wrath. And Justin Martyr b is still more particular, who was by birth a Samaritan, and was well versed in Jewish affairs; he, even in conversing with Trypho the Jew, who could have contradicted him had he said what was wrong, says, the lamb was roasted in the form of a cross; one spit, he says, went through from the lower parts to the head, and again another across the shoulders, to which the hands (or rather the legs) of the lamb were fastened and hung; and so was a very lively emblem of Christ crucified:
his head, with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof; or with its inwards c, these were all to be roasted together, the whole lamb with all that belonged to it, with which the above canon of the Jews agrees.
u "cruda fuit caro", Golius, col. 2476. Semicocta, "cruda fuit caro", Castell. Lex. col. 2296. Vid. Hottinger. Smegma Oriental. p. 169, 170. w Hilchot Korban Pesach. c. 8. sect. 6. x Oleaster apud Rivet in loc. Gusset. Comment. Ebr. p. 487, 488; so some in Aben Ezra. y So Marinus Brixianus in Arca Noe. z Misn. Pesach. c. 7. sect. 1, 2. a Hilchot Korban Pesach. c. 8. sect. 10. b Dialog. cum Trypho Jud. p. 259. c ועל קרבו "et cum interioribus ejus", Pagninus, Tigurine version, so Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning,.... It was to be all ate up; a whole Christ is to be received and fed upon by faith; Christ in both his natures, divine and human, united in his person, in all his offices of prophet, priest, and King, and with all the benefits and blessings of his grace, and which come by his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice:
and that which remaineth of it until the morning, ye shall burn with fire: what of the flesh which remaineth not ate, and what of it that could not be eaten, as the bones, which were not broken, and the nerves and sinews, which might not be eaten; and so runs the Jewish canon d,
"the bones, and the sinews, and what remains, they shall burn on the sixteenth day; and if the sixteenth happens on the sabbath, they shall burn on the seventeenth.''
The reason of this law was, that what was left might not be converted to common or superstitious uses, as also that the Israelites might not be burdened with it in their journey, nor the Egyptians have an opportunity of treating it with contempt.
d Misn. ut supra, (Persch. c. 7.) sect. 10.
And thus shall ye eat it,.... After the following manner, in the habit and posture described: the Targum of Jonathan adds,
"at this time, and not in ages following;''
for these rites were peculiar to the passover in Egypt, and not to be observed in later times:
with your loins girded; that is, with their garments girt about their loins, for the better convenience in travelling; for in those countries they wore long loose garments, which reached to their feet, and unless girt up, were a great hinderance in walking; and may denote the saints being girt with the girdle of truth, and their readiness and fitness to perform every good work:
your shoes on your feet; which used to be put off at feasts, in order to have their feet washed, which was frequently done at such times, as we learn from many instances in Scripture, which could not be done unless the shoes were off, Genesis 18:4, besides, it is highly probable that the Israelites in Egypt did not wear shoes in common, it being a hot country, and they in a state of poverty and bondage; but now being about to depart the land, and to take a journey, they are ordered to have their shoes on, to be ready for it: and was a token of their deliverance and freedom, and joy on that occasion; and may, in an evangelic sense, denote the feet of the saints being shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace, Ephesians 6:15,
and your staff in your hand; such as travellers make use of to support and assist, protect and defend them, in their journey, and may be expressive of faith in the word and promises of God, which are the support of his people in their passage through this world, Psalms 23:4
and ye shall eat it in haste; because upon slaying the firstborn the Egyptians would be urgent upon them to depart immediately. Aquila renders it, "with fear", and so the Targum of Jonathan; but the other sense suits best with the circumstances of the Israelites:
it [is] the Lord's passover; which he has commanded, and is a sign and token of his passing over the houses of the Israelites, when he destroyed the firstborn in all the houses of the Egyptians, and which is explained in the following verse, and the reason of its name given; the act of passing was his, the ordinance was appointed by him, and it was typical of the Lord Jesus Christ, the true passover, 1 Corinthians 5:7.
For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night,..... Which must be understood consistent with his omnipresence, and of the manifestation of his powerful presence, or of the exertion of his mighty power in the following event: and will smite all the
firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; as had been declared to Pharaoh, Exodus 11:5
and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; meaning either figuratively, the nobles, princes, judges and civil magistrates, who are sometimes called Elohim, gods; but since the firstborn of these, as of others, and so the judgment on them, are comprehended in the preceding clause, this is, rather to be understood literally of the idols of the Egyptians, their images of gold and silver, or of whatever they were made of: the Targum of Jonathan is,
"on all the idols of the Egyptians I will exercise four judgments; the molten idols shall be melted, the idols of stone shall be cut asunder, the idols of earth shall be broke to pieces, and the idols of wood shall become ashes;''
see Numbers 33:4 and there are some traces of this in Heathen writers; Artapanus e says, that by an earthquake most of the temples in Egypt fell; and Justin f reports, that Moses, being the leader of the exile Israelites, stole away the sacred things of the Egyptians, i.e. their gods, which they endeavoured to regain by force of arms:
I am the Lord; God Almighty, faithful and true, and therefore what was threatened should certainly be performed, and thereby the Egyptians and all others might know that he was Jehovah alone, and that there is no God beside him.
e Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 27. p. 436. f E Trogo, l. 36. c. 2.
And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where you are,.... The blood of the passover lamb being sprinkled on the two sideposts and upper doorposts of the houses inhabited by the Israelites, or where they were eating the passover; this should be a sign or token to them of the Lord's making good his promises, to them, and so of their safety, and to the destroying angel not to enter therein, but pass by and save them:
and when I see the blood, I will pass over you; for which reason this ordinance now instituted was called the passover, because the Lord, on sight of the blood sprinkled, passed over the houses of the Israelites to those of the Egyptians; or "leaped", as Jarchi says, the word signifies, skipped from one Egyptian house to another, passing by that of the Israelites:
and the plague shall not be upon you, to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt, the pestilence with which the firstborn should be destroyed.
And this shall be unto you for a memorial,.... To be remembered, and that very deservedly, for the destruction of the firstborn of the Egyptians, and for the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and as memorable a day it is, and much more so, for the redemption of the spiritual Israel by the Messiah; for it was on this selfsame day that he suffered for the redemption and salvation of his people: the Jews not only having a saying,
"that in the month Nisan they were redeemed, and in the month Nisan they will be redeemed g''
but they expressly say,
"on the same day, the fifteenth of Nisan, Israel is to be redeemed, in the days of the Messiah, as they were redeemed on that day, as it is said, according to the days, c. Micah 7:15 h:''
and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations as the fifteenth day was properly the Chagigah; or festival day, when they made a feast both of the flock and of the herd, of both sheep and oxen, Deuteronomy 16:2
you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever; unto the end of the Jewish economy and church state, until the Messiah come, the true passover, and be sacrificed for us.
g Roshhashanah, fol. 11. 1. 2. h Cabalistae apud Fagium in loc.
Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread,.... From the evening of the fourteenth day to the evening of the twenty first; and this was a distinct festival from what was properly called the feast of the passover, and does not respect the first passover in Egypt; for though the passover lamb was eaten with unleavened bread, and the Israelites ate no other, not only for seven days, but for thirty days following; yet this was not only by the divine command, but through necessity, they having no other bread to eat; but in later times they were commanded to keep a feast for seven days, in which they were not to eat leavened bread, in commemoration of their hasty departure out of Egypt, not having time to leaven the dough in their troughs, and of their distress and want of savoury bread:
even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses; out of their dwelling houses, which were to be diligently searched for that purpose, and every hole and crevice in them; and not only their lower rooms, their dining rooms and parlours, but their upper rooms and bedchambers; because it was possible a man might sometimes go into them with a piece of bread in his hand, and drop or leave some of it behind him: yea, synagogues and schools were to be searched, since children might carry thither leavened breads i: and this search was to be made by the light of a lamp or candle, not by the light of the moon, if in the night; nor by the light of the sun, if in the day, but by the light of a lamp or candle, and not by the light of a torch, or of a lump of fat, or grease, or oil, but by a lamp or candle of wax k: and this search was to be made at the beginning of the night of the fourteenth of Nisan; yea, it is said that leavened bread was forbidden from the seventh hour of the day, that is, one o'clock in the afternoon and upwards, which is the middle of the day l: the account of the Misnic doctors is m,
"R. Meir says, that they may eat leaven the whole fifth hour, i.e. eleven o'clock in the morning, and burn it the beginning of the sixth, or twelve o'clock; R. Judah says, they may eat it all the fourth hour, or tenth o'clock, and suspend it the whole fifth hour, and burn it the beginning of the sixth:''
for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day; from the first of the seven days to the last of them, beginning at the night at the fourteenth, and ending at the night of the twenty first:
that soul shall be cut off from Israel; either from the commonwealth of Israel, and be disfranchised, and not accounted as an Israelite; or from the Israelitish church state, and have no communion in it, or partake of the ordinances at it; or if it is to be understood of cutting off by death, it is either by the hand of the civil magistrate, or by the immediate hand of God; and is sometimes by the Jews interpreted of a man dying either without children, or before he is fifty years of age, and some even understand it of destruction of soul and body, or of eternal damnation.
i Lebush, par. 1. No. 433. sect. 1. 3. 10. Schulcan Aruch, par. 1. No. 433. sect. 3. 10. k Lebush & Schulcan ib. sect. 1. l Lebush & Schulcan No. 431. sect. 1. m Misn. Pesach c. 1. sect. 4.
And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation,.... An holy day, in which the people be called to holy exercises, and wholly abstain from worldly business, done on other days:
and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation unto you; observed in a festival way, and in the like religious manner the first day was, the day of their going out of Egypt; and the seventh was the day in which Pharaoh and his host were drowned in the Red sea, as Aben Ezra observes; for which reason those days are distinguished from the rest, and appointed to be holy convocations, and which appear from the journeying of the children of Israel, as computed by Junius: they came to Succoth on the fifteenth, to Etham the seventeenth, to Pihahiroth the eighteenth, where they were ordered to stay, and wait the coming of their enemies, on the twentieth the army of Pharaoh came up to them, and the night following the Israelites passed through the sea and the Egyptians were drowned:
no manner of work shall be done in them; as used to be done on other days, and as were on the other five days of this festival: the Jewish canons are,
"it is forbidden to do any work on the evening of the passover, from the middle of the day and onward, and whoever does work from the middle of the day and onward, they excommunicate him; even though, he does it for nothing, it is forbidden n: R. Meir says, whatever work anyone begins before the fourteenth (of Nisan) he may finish it on the fourteenth, but he may not begin it on the beginning of the fourteenth, though he could finish it: the wise men say, three workmen may work on the evening of the passover unto the middle of the day, and they are these, tailors, barbers, and fullers: R. Jose bar Judah says, also shoemakers o,''
but in the text no exception is made but the following:
save that which every man must eat, that only may be done of you; so that kindling fire and preparing food might be done on those days, which might not be done on sabbath days; and the prohibition of work was not so strict on those days as on that.
n Lebush, par. 1. No. 468. sect. 1. Schulcan Aruch, par. 1. No. 468. sect. 1. o Misn. Pesach. c. 4. sect. 6.
And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread,.... Which was a distinct feast from the passover feast; for though at that unleavened bread was eaten, it was kept but one night, this seven days; and it is repeated that it might be taken notice of, and the rather, as it was to be observed in all ages as long as the Jewish economy lasted; the reason of which follows:
for in this selfsame day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt; which, though not already done, was just on doing, and was certain; and besides, it respects the day when it should come about another year: by their "armies" are meant the tribes of Israel, not so much for their military force, for as yet they were an unarmed people, but for their numbers, which were sufficient to make several considerable armies, and for their order and ease, and their being without any fear of the enemy, in which they marched out of Egypt:
therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance for ever; according to the rules given, with the same exactness, strictness, and constancy, as the first of the passover, and as long as that continued; :-.
In the first month,.... As it was now ordered to be reckoned, the month Abib or Nisan:
the fourteenth day of the month at even, ye shall eat unleavened bread; that is, at the evening following, the fourteenth of Nisan, and which was the beginning of the fifteenth day, the Jews beginning their day from the evening: hence the Targum of Jonathan is,
"on the fourteenth of Nisan ye shall slay the passover, in the evening of the fifteenth ye shall eat unleavened bread:''
unto the twentieth day of the month at even; which would make just seven days; the above Targum adds,
"on the evening of the twenty second ye shall eat leavened bread,''
which was the evening following the twenty first day. This long abstinence from leaven denotes, that the whole lives of those who are Israelites indeed should be without guile, hypocrisy, and malice, and should be spent in sincerity and truth.
Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses,..... Wherefore, on the fourteenth day the most diligent search was made, and whatever was found was burnt, or cast into the sea, or dispersed with the wind; about which the traditionary writers of the Jews, give many rules and canons, :-,
for whoso eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel; which is repeated to deter them from the breach of this ordinance; :-, and it is added for further explanation, of whom it concerns:
whether he be a stranger, or born in the land; by a "stranger" is meant, not a mere Heathen, who was not bound by this law, but a proselyte; and not a proselyte of the gate, one that was only a sojourner among them, and observed the commandments of the sons of Noah; but a proselyte of righteousness, who professed the Jewish religion, and proposed to conform to it in all respects, and therefore was obliged to observe this as other precepts: and by one "born in the land", is intended a native of the land of Canaan, whither they were now going in order to possess it, or a real Israelite, such as were born of Israelitish parents, and proper inhabitants of Canaan, which they would be put into the possession of.
Ye shall eat nothing leavened,.... Bread or anything else that had any leaven in it:
in all your habitations shall ye eat unleavened bread, that is, if they eat any bread at all, it must be such; otherwise they might eat cakes of almonds or of eggs mixed with sugar, provided there was no leaven used, and this the Jews call the rich unleavened bread p: this is repeated over and over, that they might be the more careful of observing this precept; but as this was limited for a certain time, it plainly appears to be a mistake of Tacitus q the Roman historian, who represents unleavened bread as the bread the Jews eat of in common.
p See Leo Modena's History of the Rites, &c. of the Jews, par. 3. c. 3. sect. 5. q Hist. l. 5. c. 4.
Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel,.... Not in age but in office, who were either heads of families, or at least principal men in the tribes; which explains in what manner he was to speak to the congregation of Israel, and convey to them the will of God concerning the observation of these feasts, Exodus 12:3,
and said unto them, draw out; a lamb or a kid, out of the flocks on the tenth day of the month, and keep it up until the fourteenth, as in
and take you a lamb, according to your families; or "take ye of the flock" r, whether a lamb or a kid; a lamb for every family, if there was a sufficient number in it to eat it up; if not, two or more families were to join and keep the feast together:
and kill the passover; the lamb for the passover, which was to be done on the fourteenth day of the month; and before the priesthood was established in the family of Aaron, and before the Israelites were possessed of the land of Canaan, and the temple was built at Jerusalem, the passover was killed by the heads of families, and in their own houses, but afterwards it was killed only by the priests, and at Jerusalem and in the temple there, see Deuteronomy 16:5.
r צאז "de filiis gregis", Onk. & Jon.
And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop,.... Which some take to be "mint", others "origanum" or "marjoram", as Kimchi s, others "rosemary", as Piscator, Rivet, and many more; and indeed this seems to be fitter to strike or sprinkle with than hyssop; but it is more generally understood of hyssop, because the Hebrew word "ezob" is so near in sound to it; though whether it means the same herb we call hyssop is uncertain: Jarchi says, three stalks of it are called a bunch, and so the Misnic canon runs t,
"the command concerning hyssop is three stalks (which Maimonides on the place interprets roots), and in them three branches;''
which some have allegorically applied to the Trinity, by whom the hearts of God's people are sprinkled with the blood of the true paschal Lamb, and are purged from dead works: the Heathens in their sacrifices used sometimes branches of laurel, and sometimes branches of the olive, to sprinkle with u:
and dip it in the blood that is in the basin: which, according to the Targum of Jonathan, was an earthen vessel, into which the blood of the lamb was received when slain, and into this the bunch of hyssop was dipped; so it was usual with the Heathens to receive the blood of the sacrifice in cups or basins x: the blood being received into a basin, and not spilled on the ground and trampled on, may denote the preciousness of the blood of Christ, the true passover lamb, which is for its worth and excellent efficacy to be highly prized and esteemed, and not to be counted as a common or unholy thing; and the dipping the bunch of hyssop into the blood of the lamb may signify the exercise of faith on the blood of Christ, which is a low and humble grace, excludes boasting in the creature, deals alone with the blood of Jesus for peace, pardon, and cleansing, and by which the heart is purified, as it deals with that blood:
and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that [is] in the basin: an emblem of the sprinkling of the hearts and consciences of believers with the blood of Christ, and cleansing them from all sin by it:
and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning; that they might not be in the way of the destroyer; and though the destroying angel knew an Israelite from an Egyptian, yet this was to be the ordinance of protection to them, abiding in their houses, marked with the blood of the passover lamb; signifying that their safety was in their being under that blood, as the safety of believers lies in their being justified by the blood of Christ; for to that it is owing that they are saved from wrath to come: this is the purple covering under which they pass safely through this world to the heavenly glory, Romans 5:9, this circumstance was peculiar to the passover in Egypt; in later times there was not the like danger.
s Sepher Shorash, rad. אזב. t Misn. Parah, c. 11. sect. 9. u Vid. Kipping. Rom. Antiqu. p. 241. Virgil Aeneid. 6. Ovid. Fast. l. 5. x "-------------tepidumque cruorem Succipiunt pateris----------" Virgil. Aeneid. 6.
For the Lord will pass though to smite the Egyptians,.... All the firstborn in the several families, in all the towns and cities in Egypt:
and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and upon the two side posts; which must be understood of his taking notice of it with a special view to the good of those within the house; otherwise every thing is seen by his all seeing eye: and thus Christ, the Lamb of God, is in the midst of the throne, as though he had been slain, and is always in the view of God and his divine justice; and his blood, righteousness, and sacrifice, are always looked unto by him with pleasure, delight, and satisfaction, to the advantage of his people, as applied unto them, who are hereby accepted with him, justified in his sight, and secure from condemnation and wrath:
the Lord will pass over the door; and the house where this blood is sprinkled, and go to the next, or where Egyptians dwell; and thus justice passes over, and passes by, acquits and discharges them who are interested in the blood and sacrifice of Christ:
and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you; the destroying angel, as the Targum of Jonathan; for he seems to be distinct from the Lord, who is said to pass through and pass over, being an attendant and minister of his, to execute vengeance upon the Egyptians; and whether a good or a bad angel, it matters not, since God can make use of either to inflict judgments on men; but it may be more probably the former, even such an one as was employed in destroying the whole host of the Assyrians in one night, 2 Kings 19:35 and answers better in the antitype or emblem to the justice of God taking vengeance on ungodly sinners, when it is not suffered to do the saints any harm.
And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to thee and thy sons for ever. Not this last thing of sprinkling the blood, which was peculiar to the passover in Egypt; but the whole before observed relating to the feast of the passover, and the feast of unleavened bread, and all the rites appertaining to them, which were to be observed until the coming of Christ.
And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land,.... To the land of Canaan, towards which they were just about to set forward on their journey, and in a few years would be in the possession of:
which the Lord will give you according as he hath promised; to their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to them:
that ye shall keep this service; enjoined them, respecting the passover lamb, and leavened bread, with all the rites and ceremonies relative thereunto, excepting such as were peculiar to the first passover in Egypt.
And it shall come to pass, when your children shall say unto you, what mean ye by this service?] Of killing and roasting a lamb, and eating it with bitter herbs, and of abstaining from leavened bread.
That ye shall say, it is the sacrifice of the Lord's passover,.... This lamb is a sacrifice, both eucharistical, or by way of thanksgiving for their safety, when the firstborn of the Egyptians were slain, and for their deliverance out of Egypt; and also propitiatory, the blood of this lamb being a propitiation or atonement for all within the house where it was sprinkled, as before observed from Aben Ezra; and typical of the atoning sacrifice of Christ our passover, 1 Corinthians 5:7 and this was commanded by the Lord, and approved of and accepted by him, and therefore called his sacrifice as well as passover, for the following reason:
who passed over the houses of the children of Israel, when he smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses; their families, not suffering the destroying angel to enter into them, which was a very distinguishing mercy, and worthy of remembrance. Now in this they were to instruct their children in successive generations, that the memory of it might be kept up, and a sense of the goodness of God continued, and his name glorified. Maimonides y says,
"it is a command to make this known to children, even though they do not ask it, as it is said, "and thou shall show thy son", Exodus 13:8. According to the son's knowledge, his father teaches him; how if he is a little one or foolish? he says to him, my son, all of us were servants, as this handmaid, or this servant, in Egypt; and on this night the holy blessed God redeemed us, and brought us into liberty: and if the son is grown up, and a wise man, he makes known to him what happened to us in Egypt, and the wonders which were done for us by the hand of Moses our master, all according to the capacity of his son; and it is necessary to make a repetition on this night, that the children may see, and ask, and say, how different is this night from all other nights! until he replies and says to them, so and so it happened, and thus and thus it was:''
and the people bowed the head and worshipped; signifying the deep sense they had of the mercy shown them, their thankfulness for it, and their readiness to observe the ordinance now instituted.
y Hilchot Chametz Umetzah, c. 7. sect. 2, 3.
And the children of Israel went away,.... The elders of the people, Exodus 12:21 they departed to their several tribes and families at Goshen and elsewhere:
and did as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they; they took a lamb on the tenth day, and kept it till the fourteenth, on which day they slew it, and roasted it with fire, and ate it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt,.... The midnight of the fifteenth of Nisan, as the Targum of Jonathan, when fast asleep, and thoughtless of any danger; and it being at such a time must strike with a greater horror and terror, when sensible of the blow, which might be attended with a great noise, that might awaken the rest:
from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne; the heir to his crown, who was to have sat upon his throne, or already did, being taken a partner with him in it:
unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; or prison, that was grinding at the mill there, Exodus 11:5 which was the work and business the prisoners were often put to, as appears from the case of Samson, Judges 16:21,
and all the firstborn of cattle; which were left of the other plagues, which had consumed great numbers of them.
And Pharaoh rose up in the night,.... Being awakened by the uncommon noise he heard:
he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; he and his nobles, and ministers of state, courtiers, and counsellors, and his subjects in common, perhaps everywhere in his kingdom, but particularly in the metropolis:
and there was a great cry in Egypt; throughout the whole land, the firstborn being everywhere slain, which caused a most dreadful lamentation of parents for their eldest son, of brethren and sisters for their elder brother, and of servants and maidens for the principal and heir of the family; a cry so loud and general as perhaps was never heard before or since, and under which distress they could have no relief, or any to be their comforter, since all were in the same circumstances: for there was not a house wherein there was not one dead; for if there was no firstborn in it, as it can hardly be thought there should be in every house, though some have been of opinion that it was so ordered in Providence that there should; yet the principal or most considerable person in the family, that is next to the master, might be called the firstborn, as Jarchi notes from Psalms 89:27. Though this may be taken as an hyperbolical expression, or, as Aben Ezra observes, it being usual with the Scripture to say that of all, which is true of the greatest part.
And he called for Moses and Aaron by night,.... Not that Pharaoh went in person, but he sent his servants to call them; for they never saw his face more after he had drove them from his presence; but now was fulfilled what Moses told him, that his servants should come to him in a very suppliant manner, and entreat him and his people to get away in all haste, Exodus 10:28. Where Moses and Aaron now were is not certain, probably in the city, or suburbs of it, where Pharaoh's palace was, for it is not likely that they were gone to Goshen:
and said, rise up; from their beds in which they now were, being midnight:
and get ye forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; even all of them, without any exception of women or children as before; and without limiting them to place or time, where they should go, and how long they should stay, and without obliging them to promise to return:
and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said; as they had entreated they might, and as they had demanded in the name of the Lord that they should; to which now he gave his consent, though he afterwards repented of it.
Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said,.... Which they had insisted upon should go with them, but he had refused, but now he is willing they should go with them:
and be gone; out of his city and country in all haste:
and bless me also; or pray for me, as the Targum of Onkelos; pray the Lord to bestow a blessing upon me also, as I have done well by you in suffering you to depart with your whole families, flocks, and herds. The Targum of Jonathan is,
"I desire nothing else of you, only pray for me, that I die not;''
and so Jarchi. As he found his firstborn, and the heir to his crown and kingdom, was dead, he might justly fear it would be his case next, and perhaps very soon; and therefore desires their prayers for him, that his life might be spared.
And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people,.... The people of Israel; not using force, but strong entreaties, the most powerful arguments, and importunate language they were masters of:
that they might send them out of the land in haste: this looks as if it was the people about Pharaoh, his ministers and courtiers, they were pressing upon to dismiss the Israelites at once, and to hasten their departure; or else Moses and Aaron, and the elders of the people, to stir them up to a quick dispatch of their affairs, that they might be soon rid of them; unless the sense is, that they were very solicitous and earnest with the people, that they would get away out of the land as fast as they could:
for they said, we [be] all dead [men]; for their firstborn being all slain, they expected that they themselves, and the rest of their families, would be struck with death next; and this they feared would be the case in a very little time, if they did not depart;
for they had sufficient reason to convince them, that it was purely on their account, and because they had not leave to go out of the land, that all the above judgments, and particularly the last, were inflicted on them.
And the people took their dough before it was leavened,.... They had that evening mixed their flour with water, and made it into dough, but had put no leaven into it; and the Egyptians being so very earnest to have them gone, they stayed not to put any leaven into it:
[but] their kneadingtroughs, or rather "their dough",
being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders; for it is not likely that their troughs should be wrapped up in the skirts of their garments; but their dough might, if their clothes were like the hykes of the Arabs now, as Dr. Shaw z thinks they were, and which are pretty much like the plaids of the Scotch, and which are large enough for such a purpose; as even the veil which Ruth wore held six measures of barley, Ruth 3:15 and so these clothes of theirs, like the Arabs' hykes, and the Scotch plaids, might be so made, that large lumps of dough being bound up in them might be thrown over their shoulders, and so carried by them when they journeyed.
z Travels, p. 224, 225. Edit. 2.
And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses,.... Exodus 3:22
and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment; or "they asked" a them of the Egyptians to give them them, which they readily did to get rid of them; for upon their being urgent with the Israelites to be gone in haste, they might reply, that they were not provided with things suitable for a journey, and therefore requested such things of them, which they at once freely consented to; Exodus 3:22- :,
Exodus 3:22- :,
Exodus 3:22- :.
a וישאלו "et postulaverunt", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "petierunt", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians,.... Their minds were disposed towards them, and their hearts were inclined to grant their request, and did grant it:
so they lent unto them: such things as they required; or "they gave unto them" b; made presents of them freely to them; and so Josephus says c, that they honoured them with gifts:
and they spoiled the Egyptians; stripped them of their substance and riches, of their most valuable things; in doing which they were in no wise criminal, since they did it by the direction and authority of God, who has a right to dispose of all the things in the world; and to take of them from one, and give to another, as he pleases; nor was any injustice done to the Egyptians, who owed all this, and perhaps abundantly more, to the Israelites, for the labour and service they had served them in for many years; besides, they were the avowed enemies of Israel, and the Lord had now put himself at the head of the armies of Israel, and was contending with them, and they with him, who should overcome; and this was doing no other than what, acceding to the law of nations, is lawful to be done in time of war; to spoil, plunder, and distress an enemy, in whatsoever way it can be done. And thus the promise made to Abraham, that his posterity should come out with great substance, was fulfilled, Genesis 15:14. This circumstance is taken notice of by some Heathen writers, as Artapanus d; who says they borrowed many cups of the Egyptians, and not a little raiment, besides a great quantity of other treasure and riches; and so Ezekiel the tragedian e speaks of a vast deal of gold and silver, raiment, and other things, the Israelitish women had of the Egyptians at their departure, and who relates the history of Moses and the above plagues very agreeably to the sacred writings.
b וישאלום "ut petita darent", Tigurine version, "ut dederint", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Ainsworth, Cartwright. c Antiqu. l. 2. c. 14. sect. 6. d Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 27. p. 436. e Apud Euseb. ib. c. 29. p. 443.
And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth,.... Rameses was a place in Goshen, or rather the land of Goshen, from whence the country was so called; :-. The Targum of Jonathan takes it to be Pelusium, or Sin, now called Tinah, formerly the strength of Egypt, and which lay at the entrance of it, and says it was one hundred and thirty miles to Succoth; and Jarchi says one hundred and twenty. But the distance between these two places was not so great; for Succoth from Rameses it is computed was eight miles f only. The latter place is so called by anticipation; for it was now a desert, as Josephus g says, which he calls Latopolis, but had its name Succoth from the children of Israel pitching their tents there; for the word signifies tents or tabernacles. The number of the children of Israel when they came out of Egypt
were about six hundred thousand on foot, that were men, besides children; and which is confirmed by the account that Chaeremon h the Heathen gives, who makes the number of those drove out of Egypt, as he calls them, 250,000; and says that when they came to Pelusium, they found there 380,000 left there by Amenophis; which makes in all 630,000. And so Philo the Jew says i, they were above 600,000, besides old men, children, and women, that could not easily be numbered; and the word "about" will admit of it, since it may be used not to diminish, but to increase the number; and it is certain that in the second year after they were come out of Egypt, their number was 600,550 without the Levites, who were not numbered; and they that were numbered were such as were twenty years old and upward, and able to go forth to war, Numbers 1:9 and such were those here, as Jarchi observes; so that if there were 600,000 men of twenty years old and upwards, able to bear arms, besides women, children, and old men, it may well be thought that in all there were no less than near two millions and a half; for, according to the ordinary proportion allowed in other nations of four to one between the number of the whole people in a nation, and those men fit to bear arms, that the number of the Israelites alone, of all ages and sexes which went out of Egypt along with Moses, will amount to 2,400,000 souls j; which was a prodigious increase of seventy persons in little more than two hundred years, and a most marvellous thing it was, that in so large a number of persons there was not one feeble among them, Psalms 105:37.
f See Bunting's Travels, p. 81. g Ut supra, (antiqu. l. 2.) c. 15. sect. 1. h Apud Joseph. contr. Apion, l. 1. sect. 32. i De Vita Mosis, l. 1. p. 625. j Bp. of Clogher's Chronology of the Hebrew Bible, p. 271. See Judah Leon's Relation of Memorable Things, &c. p. 2.
And a mixed multitude went up also with them,.... Some of these were Egyptians, and some of other nations that had resided in Egypt, and who, on various accounts, might choose to go along with the children of Israel; some through intermarriages with them, being loath to part with their relations, see Leviticus 20:10, others on account of religion, being proselytes of righteousness, and others through worldly interest, the land of Egypt being by the plagues a most desolate place; and such wonders being wrought for the children of Israel, they saw they were a people that were the favourites of heaven, and judged it safest and best and most for their interest to keep with them; the Targum of Jonathan computes the number of those to be two hundred and forty myriads:
and flocks and herds, [even] very much cattle; the greatest part of which must be supposed to belong to the children of Israel, whose cattle were not destroyed when those of the Egyptians were; and the rest might be the cattle of such who feared and regarded the word of God, and took their cattle into their houses at the time of the plague of hail, whereby they were preserved; and which might be an inducement to them to take their herds and their flocks, and go along with the children of Israel, see Exodus 9:20.
And they baked unleavened cakes,.... While they were at Succoth; but since that was a desert place, where could they get ovens to bake them in? they might lay them upon coals, and by frequent turning them bake them, or under hot ashes, under a pan covered with hot embers and coals, on an hearth, in which way cakes and other things are now baked with us in many places: of the quick way of dressing cakes in the eastern countries, :- and some render the word, "cakes under ashes" k which were made
of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt; for it was not leavened; of the manner of their bringing it,
:-, and the reason why it was not leavened follows:
because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry: to leaven their dough, in such haste did they go out from thence. When they are said to be "thrust out", it is not to be understood of force and compulsion used, or of any indecent and ill behaviour towards them; but of earnest entreaties and urgent persuasions to depart; though this no doubt gave rise to the stories told by Justin l, Tacitus m, and others, that they were drove and cast out of Egypt by force, because they were a filthy diseased people, infected with the scab, itch, and leprosy; whereas there was not a sick, unsound, infirm, and feeble person among them, as before observed:
neither had they prepared for themselves any victual; they had their flocks and their herds, out of which they could take for their use, and they had dough, though unleavened and unbaked; but they had nothing ready dressed; what remained of the passover lamb they were obliged to burn; they had nothing which was got by hunting or fishing, as the word n used signifies; neither venison nor fish, of the latter of which there was great plenty in Egypt.
k עגת "subcineritios panes", V. L. "subcineritia", Samar,
εγκρυφιας, Sept. so Munster. l E Trogo, l. 36. c. 2. m Hist. l. 5. c. 3. Manetho apud Joseph. contr. Apion, l. 1. c. 15. & Chaeremon apud ib. c. 32. & Lysimachus apud ib. c. 34. n צדת "vox autem proprie significat aliquid venando captum", Piscator.
Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt,.... The Septuagint version adds, "and in the land of Canaan"; and the Samaritan version is,
"the sojourning of the children of Israel, and of their fathers, in the land of Canaan, and in the land of Egypt.''
Agreeably to which are both the Talmuds: in one o of them the words are,
"in Egypt and in all lands,''
and in the other p,
"in Egypt, and in the rest of the lands;''
and in the same way Aben Ezra interprets the words. And certain it is, that Israel did not dwell in Egypt four hundred and thirty years, and even not much more than two hundred years; but then they and their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, dwelt so long in Mesopotamia, in Canaan, and in Egypt, in foreign countries, in a land not theirs, as the phrase is, Genesis 15:13 where the place of their sojourning, and the time of it, are given by way of prophecy. The Jews reckon from the vision of God to Abraham between the pieces to the birth of Isaac thirty years, so the Targum of Jonathan; but that cannot be, though from his coming out of his own native place, Ur of the Chaldeans, to the birth of Isaac, might be so many years, since he was seventy five years of age when he came out of Haran, Genesis 12:4 and if he stayed at Haran five years, as probably he did, then there were just thirty from his coming out of Ur of the Chaldees to Isaac's birth, since he was born when he was one hundred years old; and from the birth of Isaac to the birth of Jacob was sixty years, Genesis 25:26 and from thence to his going down to Egypt was one hundred and thirty, Genesis 47:9 and from thence to the coming of Israel out of Egypt were two hundred and ten years, as is generally computed, which make the exact sum of four hundred and thirty years; of these Genesis 47:9- :,
Genesis 47:9- :.
o T. Hieros. Magillah, fol. 71. 4. p T. Bab. Megillah, fol. 9. 1.
And it came to pass at the end of four hundred and thirty years,.... As soon as completed:
even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt; which was the fifteenth of Nisan; and Jarchi says it was on the fifteenth of Nisan that the decree was made known to Abraham between the pieces, concerning the affliction of his posterity four hundred years in a land not theirs; but this is not to be depended on; yet it looks as if at the close of the four hundred and thirty years, from the date of them, exactly to a day, the children of Israel, the armies of the Lord, came out of Egypt in great order: however, it seems certain by this that they all came out the same day, which was very wonderful that such a large number should be collected together, and that they should march out of the land on one and the same day; and it is pretty plain it was in the daytime, and very likely in the midst of the day; for they were not to stir out of their houses till morning, and then they had what remained of the passover to burn, as well as many other things to do, it is very probable, and some which they could not do; so that they did not go by night, or by stealth, but openly at noon day; and the words will bear to be rendered, "in the strength or body of the day" r, when it is at its height, as it is at noon; and so the Jews represent the Lord speaking after this manner s,
"If I bring out Israel by night, the Egyptians will say, now he does his work after the manner of thieves; but behold, I will bring them out in the midst of the day, in the strength of the sun, as is said, "and it was in the selfsame day", c.''
r בעצם היזם הזה "in corpore diei hujus", Pagninus, Montanus "in the body" or "strength of that day", Ainsworth. s Pirke Eliezer, c. 48. fol. 58. 2.
It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord,.... Or "a night of observations" t, in which many things are to be observed to the honour and glory of God, as done by him, wherein his power, wisdom, goodness, truth and faithfulness, are displayed; partly by the destruction of the Egyptian firstborn, and particularly
for bringing them, the children of Israel,
out from the land of Egypt: with the leave, and even pressing importunity of the Egyptians, and with so much wealth and riches, having found great favour in their sight, which was from the Lord:
this is that night of the Lord to be much observed of all the children of Israel in their generations in successive ages unto the coming of the Messiah, for the reasons before given; and the selfsame night is worthy the remembrance of all the spiritual Israel of God, of all true believers in Christ; for that very night after Christ had ate the passover with his disciples, he was betrayed by one of them; and to perpetuate the memory of this, and of his sufferings and death, an ordinance is appointed to be observed until his second coming, see
1 Corinthians 11:23, and the ancient Jews themselves have had some notion of the appearance of the Messiah at this time; for they not only expect his coming at the time of the passover, and speak of their redemption by him in the month of Nisan, as before observed on Exodus 12:14, but of this very night, among the four observable things in it, the fourth they say is, Moses shall go out of the midst of the wilderness, and the King Messiah out of Rome; so it is said in the Jerusalem Targum on the place.
t ליל שמרים "nox observantiarum", Munster, Fagius, Vatablus, so Drusius, Piscator, Cartwright, Ainsworth.
And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron,.... At the same time he acquainted them with the above things:
this is the ordinance of the passover; as before delivered, and these the laws and rules, according to which it is to be observed, as now related, both with respect to the lamb, and to the unleavened bread; and the following is an account of the persons that were to partake of it:
there shall no stranger eat thereof, one that is of another country, an entire Heathen, and unacquainted with, and does not profess the Jewish religion, which was the religion of God.
But every man's servant that is bought for money,.... And so his own property:
when thou hast circumcised him; as such an one ought to be, according to the covenant of circumcision given to Abraham, Genesis 17:13, though one should think not without his consent; wherefore care was to be taken to purchase such servants as would be willing to conform to that rite, and pains were to be taken with them to instruct them in it, and persuade them to it; to which, when they had submitted, they had a right to eat the passover, but if they did not, it was not allowed:
then shall he eat thereof; but not otherwise.
A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof. One of another nation, and one that was only hired by the day, week, or year; as they were not obliged to circumcision, so without it they had no right to eat of the passover, none but such as became proselytes of righteousness.
In one house shall it be eaten,.... For though there might be more lambs than one eaten in a house, where there were a sufficient number to eat them; and there might be more societies than one in a house, provided they kept themselves distinct, and were large enough each of them to eat up a lamb; yet one lamb might not be eaten in different houses, a part of it in one house, and a part of it in another; which may denote the unity of the general assembly and church of the firstborn, and the distinct separate congregations of the saints, and the right that each have to a whole Christ, who is not to be divided from his ministers, word, and ordinances;
thou shall not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house: into another house; for where there was not a sufficient number in one house to eat a lamb, their neighbours in the next house were to join with them; but then they were not to part it, and one portion of it to be eaten in one house, and the other in another, but they were to meet together in one of their houses, and there partake of it; thus, though Christ may be fed upon by faith any where by particular believers, yet in an ordinance way only in the church of God:
neither shall ye break a bone thereof; any of its tender bones to get out the marrow; and so the Targum of Jonathan adds,
"that ye may eat that which is in the midst of it:''
this was remarkably fulfilled in Christ the antitype, John 19:32.
All the congregation of Israel shall keep it. The passover, and the feast of unleavened bread only; for a Gentile was first to be circumcised, and be joined to the congregation, and then partake of it, and not before.
And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, e.] Who by so doing became a proselyte of the gate, he observing the commands of the sons of Noah:
and will keep the passover of the Lord is desirous of being admitted to that ordinance:
let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near, and keep it: first himself, and then all his male children and male servants, and then, and not till then, he might approach to this ordinance, and observe it; for by this means he would become a proselyte of righteousness, and in all respects as an Israelite, or son of Abraham, as it follows:
and he shall be as one that is born in the land; a native and proper inhabitant of Canaan, enjoying all the privileges and immunities of such:
for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof; these laws and rules concerning those persons that were to eat of the passover are such as were to be observed in all successive generations, to the coming of Christ; and were the rather necessary to be given now, because of the mixed multitude who now came up with the children of Israel out of Egypt.
One law shall be to him that is homeborn,.... A proper Israelite, one that is so by descent:
and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you; that becomes a proselyte to the true religion; these were both bound by the same law, and obliged to observe the same rites and ceremonies, and partook of the same ordinances, benefits, and privileges; this was a dawn of grace to the poor Gentiles, and presignified what would be in Gospel times, when they should be fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, be fellow heirs of the same body, and partakers of the promises of Christ by the Gospel, Ephesians 2:19.
Thus did all the children of Israel,.... They slew a lamb, and roasted and ate it, with unleavened bread, and bitter herbs, and took a bunch of hyssop, and dipped it in the blood, and struck the lintel and the side posts of the doors of their houses: this they did on the night of their deliverance out of Egypt:
as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they; being instructed by them; which is an instance of their ready and cheerful obedience to the divine will, which they were under great obligation to perform, from a grateful sense of the wonderful mercy and favour they now were made partakers of.
And it came to pass the selfsame day,.... That the above ordinance was instituted and celebrated in the night:
that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt, by their armies; by their several tribes, which were like so many armies, marching in large numbers, and with great order and regularity, :-.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Exodus 12". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany